The present study is a qualitative exploration of the link between earlier trauma and adolescent mother identity. We examined whether the mothers in our study formed an identification with other adolescent mothers, why or why not, and whether that identity (or lack thereof) was influenced by earlier traumatic experience. Fourteen residents of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, who became mothers between the ages of 14 and 19 (four White, seven African American, two Latina, and one Multiracial) participated in semi-structured interviews. Semi-structured, in-depth narrative interviews explored personal and community views on and experiences with adolescent pregnancy and parenthood. Results suggest that although exposure to traumatic events early in life can prompt more favorable evaluations of adolescent mothers before becoming a member of the ingroup for some, earlier trauma can prompt others to reject ingroup among adolescent mothers. Adolescent pregnancy and parenthood programs should utilize a trauma lens.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology